The airwaves are filled with ads depicting friendly insurance agents and companies that “come through” for policyholders in their time of need. Unfortunately, when tragedy strikes close to home, the reality can be quite different.
Despite what those ads want you to believe, insurance companies are not your allies or friends. Their ultimate goal is to minimize the amount they payout for claims that are filed, so their interests are not aligned with yours. This is especially true with car accident cases. Insurance companies typically dedicate a lot of resources to fighting these types of claims.
They will often employ a host of tactics meant to delay, minimize, or flat-out deny the legitimacy of the claim, which only causes more stress for accident victims. If you are involved in an accident injury claim, here are some of the most common tactics that insurance companies use to limit their losses:
Delaying Your Claim
An insurance company often knows that you have mounting medical bills and are unable to work because of the accident. They expect that, by delaying your claim, you’ll be more willing to accept a lower settlement figure. Do not accept their first settlement offer. You’ll get more traction by having a skilled and aggressive attorney fighting for your interests.
Requesting Unnecessary Information
Insurers may contend that they can’t move forward with your case unless they have a certain piece of paper from you. For example, some insurance companies want you to sign a release so that they can obtain all of your medical records. You don’t have to do this, and you shouldn’t. It’s vital that you understand your rights and only provide these companies with information to which they are entitled.
Asking for a Recorded Statement
One of the most common requests you’ll get from an insurance company early in the process is for a recorded statement. These are never required, and they are simply a tactic used to gather information that will allow the company to minimize or deny your claim. No not agree to a recorded statement. The insurance adjuster is hoping that you will admit to something, such as being distracted or having a serious pre-existing condition, on tape so that it can be used against you later. Never agree to a recorded statement, and never admit to any fault for the crash, without first discussing your case with an experienced accident attorney.
Blaming You for Your Injuries
Insurance companies are pros at blaming accident victims for their own injuries by claiming they were somehow at fault. Georgia applies “modified comparative fault” to accident injury claims, which means if the insurer can show that you were 50% or more at fault in the accident, they can deny your claim entirely. If they can show something less than 50%, the amount of your damage recovery will be reduced by that amount, which also lowers their financial responsibility.
Downplaying Your Injuries
An insurance company is also likely to allege that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim. One of the ways that you can combat this tactic is by getting immediate medical care after an accident for thorough and complete documentation.
Blaming You for Filing a Late or Incomplete Claim
Insurance claims can involve a ton of overwhelming requirements, and insurance companies love to declare that someone missed a deadline or didn’t fulfill some simple task. As long as you are within the statute of limitations for filing a claim, most of this is noise and won’t hold up in court.
Denial of Liability
An insurance company might simply deny your claim for a variety of reasons. They could say that you failed to prove negligence and that the responsible party didn’t owe you a duty of care, and/or didn’t breach any duty. Without an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, some of these claims will be tough to counter on your own.
We’ll Help You Fight Back Against Aggressive Insurance Company Tactics
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, there is a good chance you’ve experienced some of the aggressive tactics that we listed above. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will probably start as soon as the insurer realizes you have a solid claim. Knowing this, it is best to obtain strong legal counsel as early as possible in the process.
At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have extensive knowledge of personal injury law as well as the common tactics insurers may use to diminish the value of an injury claim. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, contact our Atlanta office at 678-981-5370 or reach out to us online.